Click goes to court with the founder of Lavabit, the encrypted e-mail provider used by Edward Snowden. Plus the latest in virtual reality headsets.
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You're the keeper of people's secrets.
The government wants access.
Do you give them the keys? Or...
This week, Click meets the man
who is sending a message to the US government -
the only one he wants them to read.
We're in court with the founder of the e-mail service
the FBI wanted to crack to get at Edward Snowden.
We'll also show you where you've been recently,
and how to disappear from Google's location services.
And we have the eye-popping headwear
that could really turn heads in the coming years.
All that, plus the latest tech news,
and if you needed another reason to get sucked into the programme,
we'll show you how to build yourself a black hole in Webscape.
Welcome to Click. I'm Spencer Kelly.
Can you ever have a completely private e-mail conversation?
Well, that's what's been at stake this week in Richmond, Virginia,
as the latest skirmish in the fight over privacy unfolds.
Now, as with so much in this area,
it all goes back to the former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
It was, of course, he who brought to light just how much of our data
and communications are sifted by government agencies.
Being, of course, aware of this himself,
Snowden used a highly encrypted personal e-mail service.
And this week, the spotlight shines on the e-mail provider he used,
Lavabit. Run by Ladar Levison,
Lavabit's security was so high,
it was thought near impossible for even government agencies to crack.
Last summer, though, Levison was asked to hand over the keys
that Lavabit used to encrypt the data passing through its servers,
so the FBI could read the e-mails of one of its users.
That user is believed to have been Edward Snowden.
Instead, he shut the service down without warning,
and issued a statement on his website saying he would not,
as he put it, become complicit in crimes against the American people.
Levison is now appealing the government's ruling,
in what's being seen as one of the most important cases
for the future of privacy on the internet.
We sent Jen Copestake to Virginia
to catch up with him at his appeal hearing.
It's here at the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
that Ladar Levison of Lavabit
will have his appeal in front of a panel of three judges.
He won't hear the decision for several weeks.
'After the hearing, we head back to Washington DC,
'where Ladar has been staying.'
What did you think about the hearing today?
On the one hand, I'm certainly happy that I finally had my day in court.
I just hope that the justices are able to parse
what is a very complex technical question.
OK, Snowden was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize...
The Lavabit appeal could have far-reaching implications
for the future of internet security. Depending on the outcome,
it could set a precedent for whether law-enforcement agencies
can force businesses to hand over encryption keys,
unlocking all their customers' data.
Encryption keys secure all communications
coming in and out of a network,
but with the large amount of data now being shared online,
the software needs updating to maintain privacy.
What most people don't realise
is that the major mail protocols
that we use today were created in the '70s...
..when a half-dozen computers were connected on DARPAnet.
And everybody knew everybody else that was on the internet.
And security was never a focus,
because we didn't think the intelligence agencies
were collecting all of the communications
going over the internet. Now that that's become clear...
..it just illustrates the need for us to rethink...
..many of the protocols that we use on the internet.
Ladar has started a new project called Dark Mail,
which aims to bring encrypted security to everyone,
not just cryptographers.
Dark Mail is a joint venture between Lavabit and Silent Circle,
a company specialising in telephony encryption.
Silent Circle's president and founder is Phil Zimmermann,
an internet legend who designed one of the first privacy protocols,
PGP, or Pretty Good Privacy.
I have been worried about surveillance technology
for many years, but what we've seen now, recently,
from the revelations from Snowden is that the surveillance state
is becoming more powerful than anyone imagined.
Everything that we do is being tracked and monitored
and recorded, and I think it's bad for civil liberties.
I admire what he did.
I admire Ladar's decision.
In fact, that's why we thought it would be nice to work together.
If he's not successful in his appeal,
Ladar says he might consider taking the case here, to the Supreme Court.
But that would have huge cost implications.
Since shutting down Lavabit,
Ladar has relied on crowd-funding to pay for his legal fees.
I've been fortunate that my parents are so proud of me.
They've been effectively taking care of me
since I shut down my company, and it's allowed me the ability
to really become what is almost a full-time activist.
It's scary to think that our government is slowly gaining
unfettered access to the entire world's communications,
and that they are harvesting those communications,
and storing them for an indefinite period of time.
I trust the government when they provide adequate transparency
and I can verify that they are not abusing
the authority that they have been given.
I do not trust a government that operates in secret.
With more revelations on the scope of American spy programmes
from Edward Snowden being released almost every week,
the debate over internet privacy is only going to get more intense.
The discussion, the debate has just started.
We're going to be discussing these issues
for the next three, four years. I think there may come a day...
when the United States is no longer associated
with the word "freedom" in people's minds.
The sad thing is that I think I'm too much of an American
to abandon my country when that happens.
Jen Copestake in Virginia.
Well, Jamie Bartlett is a security and privacy researcher
and specialist, and he's agreed to meet me
-in this very public location for safety. Jamie, hi.
Is this something that we ordinary people
who have nothing to hide need to be worried about?
I think it's really important that people feel they can communicate
securely, whether it's individuals, businesses...
It's not just about being able to hide yourself from the government.
Being able to communicate safely and securely,
browse the internet securely, is incredibly important,
because there are plenty of third parties out there,
nefarious third parties that might want to see what you're doing.
More broadly, it's the ability to communicate freely
with fellow citizens or whoever you wish...
is an extremely important right.
It's very good for the health of society to be able to do that.
Can we assume it is now impossible to have a conversation
away from prying eyes?
I think it is always safe to assume there's a possibility
that your online communications are being monitored.
But actually, there are a lot of pretty good,
pretty secure ways that you can communicate with other people.
For example, the use of PGP encryption is relatively simple.
It's used by a large number of people,
and it's very, very hard to crack.
So while there are always ways of security services
trying to get in, and we don't know exactly what they can and can't do,
even with these revelations by Edward Snowden,
it's not quite as easy as people think to monitor everything,
but equally, there are ways of evading it.
Does it seems to you that since all these revelations
have started surfacing,
more and more ordinary people have decided to take action
to develop anti-surveillance methods?
In 1991, what we saw was the launch of something
called the crypto wars, citizens trying to evade surveillance.
Counter-surveillance by the people.
And I think we are entering into a second crypto wars.
Over the last 12 months or so,
there's been a pretty dramatic increase in both
technical software developers and ordinary citizens
figuring out ways of trying to evade surveillance,
a sort of citizen counter-surveillance movement.
There's been a growth in crypto parties around the world,
where people learn how to use PGP encryption,
or browse the net anonymously.
And there's very interesting new software being developed for,
for example, a secure alternative to Skype called Jitsi.
There's new ways of being able to send text messages more anonymously,
and that includes Chinese dissidents,
ordinary citizens who just want to make sure
that their communications are secure, but of course, exactly the same tools
and techniques are going to be used by serious and organised criminals.
So that's the great challenge that we face.
OK, Jamie, thank you very much for your time.
If anyone asks, we weren't here.
Now, of course, it's not just governments who are after your data.
Sometimes, it's companies who are providing you a service
and which you've agreed can track you in the first place.
Take a look at this.
The lunar New Year is the reason behind
the world's biggest annual migration.
Gong xi fa cai, by the way.
And these coloured lines show the movement
of hundreds of millions of people over this period.
Their locations have been tracked
because they use the largest search engine in China, Baidu.
And over here, if you've allowed Google to access the location data
from your smartphone, the same thing is happening to you all the time.
Take a look at this.
If you go into Google dashboard, you can access any location data
that's being collected on you.
For example, here's what I got up to during our visit
to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas a few weeks ago.
You can cycle through each day to see, for example,
where the boss went skiing earlier this month,
or you can chart my driving trip
out of Las Vegas and into the desert.
Pretty cool. Or spooky, depending on your point of view.
Now, of course, you may very well know that you signed up
for something like this, but let's be honest,
sometimes apps can install on our phones
and we agree to the permissions
without really realising the consequences.
Fortunately, you do have control over what Google can see
of your location. You can switch it off entirely
through the dashboard, or delete any or all of your history.
Anyway, next up, it's a look at this week's tech news.
And more from Edward Snowden first,
with revelations that British intelligence agencies have been
snooping on users of YouTube, Facebook and Blogger.
The leaks, published by America's NBC network,
suggest that in 2012, GCHQ monitored Facebook likes and comments
that weren't supposed to be public.
Facebook says it has since encrypted much of its data.
All three companies have denied granting GCHQ access
to their servers.
It also emerged that both the NSA and GCHQ
made use of information leaks from mobile phone applications,
including Angry Birds,
many of which send out the handset's ID and location on a regular basis.
GCHQ hasn't commented, but some hackers have,
by defacing the Birds website.
Orange has become the first major operator to include
Europe-wide calls and data use in a monthly subscription plan.
The move is expected to be copied by other EU operators
after regulators promised to stamp out roaming charges by 2016.
It may not save customers much cash, though.
The cheapest of the two tariffs starts at 90 euros per month.
Last year, UK operator 3 did something similar
across 11 countries, including the US,
reporting a tenfold increase in data used in those countries.
And finally, another step forward in the world of 3D printing.
Perhaps the ultimate one,
as Stratasys unveiled the first machine
that can print objects made of mixed and multicoloured materials.
The company claims that the 330,000 machine
will halve the time it takes to create prototypes
by using triple jetting,
mixing differing amounts of coloured dyes,
rubber and plastic simultaneously to create the desired object.
Last week, we had another reminder of the heat and hype
surrounding wearable displays,
when one American start-up raised a quarter of million dollars
in just one day to crowd-fund its unique headset.
And with mounting speculation that Google might finally be ready
to release its own Glass eyewear,
Dan Simmons has been looking at the pros and cons
of looking like a cyborg.
Eyewear is the focus for many developers at the moment,
most of whom are popping tiny screens into headsets.
But one start-up is hoping we will look at things
in a very different way.
Inside, the player is actually looking at two million mirrors
that flip around to bounce light straight into the eye.
Special lenses help bring that image into focus,
so there's no need for a screen.
The result, it is claimed, is a pixel-less, stunning image,
although there's still a year or so of testing to be done.
Using more conventional means,
Sony has had a home-theatre headset available since 2012,
but its latest version tracks your head movements
courtesy of a gyroscope and accelerometer in the back,
so wearers can look around the scene.
For dedicated gamers, the Oculus Rift headset goes even further,
with a 360-degree game world fed through two HD screens.
And then there are headsets made for the real world.
This pair from Recon hits the market in the next few months,
making use of specific apps for each situation,
linking up to the net to overlay real-time data.
Get directions to... Covent Garden Station.
Perhaps the most famous of these is Google Glass.
Still in beta testing,
the voice-activated specs hook up to your smartphone,
offering a heads-up map with directions,
web searches, or to share pictures or videos that you might take
using the built-in camera.
But why not simply use your smartphone?
Phones are quite anti-social, when you think about it.
If you want to do an activity,
you have to look down and take it out of your pocket.
Whereas having a headset, it allows you the freedom
to actually just get on with your life.
You see something interesting, you can have a photo taken.
You can have a conversation with someone and engage with them
without having to fact-find by sneaking around through your pocket.
But is it cool to look like this?
The problem is, it looks quite...
I don't want to say ugly, but it is very much kind of un-aesthetic.
People don't want to wear things that are obviously technology.
They want something sleek,
sunglasses or a pair of normal glasses
that incorporates technology in a more easy-to-use way.
Sony is experimenting with this pair,
that adds info to what you can see while watching TV,
if you're willing to look like Jason Bradbury for a bit.
Sony likes the idea of not having to look at a second device,
maybe a mobile phone, but rather letting fans just watch the game.
You don't take your eyes off the screen,
because all the information you might need, like the goal score line
or tweets that come up from other fans,
appear right before your eyes.
The company is adding more functions,
and claims its design makes me look so much better than Google's.
And with the discreet way that we display information internally
so that only the wearer sees it,
there's no reason for you to have to constantly move your eyes
up and away and break that eye contact
and ultimately cause a distraction to your audience,
if you're speaking to someone.
The lack of arms on this prototype, of course,
would probably prove even more distracting.
And perhaps the most futuristic vision is offered
by these space glasses from Meta, that create virtual interfaces,
like a laptop or model for the user to manipulate with their bare hands.
Only the wearer can see what they're doing, which,
to the rest of us, could make them look particularly stupid.
Dan Simmons. And as if they heard Dan coming, take a look at this.
Google has released some snaps of frames
it will offer for sale to use with its Glass product,
including these sleek pairs of shades, which will sell for US 150.
So, even if that doesn't convince you that headsets can look cool,
at least no-one will recognise you while you're wearing them.
And now it's time for our ever-sensible look
at all that's best on the web.
Here comes Kate Russell with Webscape.
World Of Warplanes is a free-to-play dog-fighting sim
that delivers adrenaline-pumping, massively multiplayer team action
in an authentic line-up of over 100 different aircraft
from the golden era of military aviation.
Upgrades and customisations can be earned over time,
or you can pay with real-world cash for some in-game currency
if you're too impatient to wait.
Flying anything from the biplanes of the 1930s
up to the first jet planes of the 1950s,
this is fast and furious dog-fighting fun,
where teams of 15 players on each side are pitted against each other
in a battle to the death.
There are already millions of pilots signed up on the site,
so you'll never be short of someone to shoot out of the skies.
It is a hefty old download, but well worth the wait,
as you'll be out on the aerial battlefield in no time
once installed, as the learning curve is very comfortable.
The YouTube channel is a great place to head while you wait
for the download, where they've done a really nice job of presenting
tutorials and guides with a historic newsreel feel
to get you in the mood.
The cameras in modern smartphones are now such good quality,
they can realistically replace expensive digital cameras.
But if you want all the specialist shooting styles and features,
you're going to need a folder full of apps as well.
But not if you download A Better Camera for Android,
which gives you all the multi-functions of a high-end camera
through one central dashboard.
# Pictures of Lily made my life so wonderful... #
This app is all about capturing the moment.
There are no post-production filters or touch-up tools in here.
It doesn't even save your photos inside the app.
They just go straight to the camera roll like normal photos.
There are loads of great features, including burst photography,
night shot, panoramas, and HDR, or high dynamic range,
with no lengthy processing time required.
While the app is free,
some of the features included are in trial mode,
so you'll have to pay eventually if you want to keep them.
# Pictures of Lily... #
For today's internet generation,
it's all about being disposable.
If you want the Snapchat appeal
in the form of social media platform Twitter,
then you've come up with Kwikdesk.
# It's better than a letter
# I'm sending it you... #
This completely anonymous social platform is a way of sending
messages of up to 300 characters out into the great unwashed internet.
After typing it up, you select how long the message will remain
in the system for before it self-destructs,
for one, ten or 100 days from when you hit send.
The public timeline is hidden,
so you can't just browse through the post.
You'll have to find a hashtag to query instead.
If all this makes you ask why,
the only sensible answer is probably...why not?
It's actually been launched as a piece of conceptual art
by Irish photographer Kevin Abosch.
Not everything interesting online needs a purpose.
# With the letters of your name... #
60 Second Adventures In Astronomy...
How do you make a black hole?
Apart from the obvious answer - very carefully -
that is the topic of this week's video of the week.
From the Open University's 60 Second Adventures In... series,
which are well worth checking out on their YouTube channel.
Chandrasekhar calculated that if a star is big enough,
when its fuel runs out, there is nothing to stop gravity
from making its core collapse to create a black hole.
Unfortunately for Chandrasekhar, his contemporaries,
like Sir Arthur Eddington, just didn't believe him,
but it turns out he was right, and in 1983,
he eventually won a Nobel Prize for it.
From Dark Mail to black holes in just under 25 minutes.
Don't say we're not good to you.
And of course, Kate's links are available at our website
if you missed them. bbc.co.uk/click is the address you need.
And if you have an opinion on anything you've seen today,
and I suspect you just might, we'd love to hear it.
We're also on Twitter, Facebook and Google+ too.
That is it for now, though.
Thank you very much for watching, and we'll see you next time.
Click goes to court with the founder of Lavabit, the encrypted e-mail provider used by Edward Snowden. Plus we try on the latest in virtual reality headsets.